Thursday, December 4, 2008

Theorin, Johan (Echoes from the Dead)

[An Early Reviewer copy from LibraryThing. Thanks LT!]

Finally, I get a decent book from LT-- one in which I'm not rolling my eyes at the writing every few pages or wishing the themes were less yawn-inducing. And, actually, I have no idea how well written the original book was since this is a translation of a Swedish murder mystery. Because it climbed to the top of the charts over there, I expect the decent writing is coming through in the translation (especially in terms of the descriptions of the island of Öland and its cold, harsh beauty).

There are Swedish murder mystery authors whom I've enjoyed before (Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö , Henning Mankell), even as their books reflect a dour sensibility among the Swedes. You never put one of these books down and feel really good about humanity. It seems to me that Theorin's book tries hard to not reflect the "nasty, brutish and short" theory of life as these others did.

However, the ending is absolutely and definitively Scandinavian. I suspect if I were Swedish it may seem fitting (and it's not as if our protagonist is left with nothing), but seeing as I'm not, it seemed particularly cruel.

No comments: